Spring 2018 Issue
Fun at FIRST: Texan Robotics at Competition
In the early hours of Friday, March 2nd, our very own Texan Robotics team went off to the first day of the FIRST Robotics Competition at Irving Regional. For those who aren’t aware, FIRST is a nonprofit organization created to inspire students of all ages to become leaders in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) fields, innovators, and learners of new life skills. Among the core concepts of FIRST lies Gracious Professionalism, a mindset encouraged by FIRST that involves learning, achieving, and helping others do while in even a competitive environment such as the competitions themselves. At these competitions, teamwork is key, just like any team sport. Six teams are chosen at random to form two alliances of three, one on each side, per match. Since teams are chosen at random to compete in matches, communication is vital to success.
Though exciting, the competition wasn’t without hardship. Sakina Zaki, a sophomore in robotics said, “Our robotics team has struggled this year and the state of things is not the exact performance that we were hoping for.” The season had been challenging due to the team having difficulty collaborating effectively and being a young team. According to Marla Erica Gamboa, a junior in robotics, “The Robotics team is in a transition period. We need to improve our skills, learn from experts, and improve collaboration between team members.” The goal of the team right now is to overcome these difficulties and struggles in order to be better prepared for next year.
Our team placed 37th out of 55 overall, however that doesn’t mean we didn’t win or do well in our matches. The FIRST Robotics Competition is about so much more than just the robot or the competition. Thanks to the assistance and aforementioned gracious professionalism of other teams and skillful driving by STEM student Sam Harper, the team was able to take three consecutive wins at the end of the first day of competing. According to Marla, “[Sam] was an exceptional driver, very good at defending and maneuvering,” which is instrumental to success. Though the competition was fierce, thanks to Sam’s skillful driving and the team’s hard work, the Texan Robotics team was able to pull several awe-inspiring wins and put up a solid fight against the opposition.
Those of us at the STEM Newsletter and of the Texan Robotics team would also like to congratulate the Eaton robotics team for not only competing in finals, but also for advancing on to the FRC Championship in their first year as a team. V. R. Eaton High School is Northwest High School’s sister school in Northwest ISD, and we would like to send them our best wishes in competing at such a high level.
Photos By: Marla Erica Gamboa.
It's Gonna Be Wild!
This past week our 9th grade students visited the Fort Worth zoo to do a little on site research. The students just launched their cross-curricular project with Biology, Math, Engineering (IED) and English.
Students will begin researching their animal and habitat. Soon after, their teams will begin the design process. We will have an update article next time with final designs!
This past January, our PLTW Aerospace Engineering classes had their rocket design proposal presentations. They presented to 8 judges, many from companies in aerospace technology. We sat down with some of the team leaders to ask them how things went.
The presentation is an important part of the design process as the design, budget, and models are proposed for approval. Team Leader Connor McGreger stated, ”I think we learned a lot when it came to areas for improvement on our design. And we were also able to pick up on some new ideas to try and use to improve our design.” Team Leader Marla Gamboa was happy with how the proposal went and was proud that they only had a few small edits to make on the design.
Connor, “It was somewhat difficult because there was so much to cover in such a small amount of time, and we couldn’t go very much into detail on the powerpoint.” Marla replied with, “It was hard to deal with having to cut somethings out of the presentation, but we were able to make things work and space it and prioritize.” Sounds like a rough time!
More than just presentations happened. “I feel I’ve learned a lot more, and I know more in detail of what to consider for in the future,” said Connor. “We learned as a team what was good and what we needed to improve upon, along with a few pointers and other ideas that might help,” Marla replied,” I feel more confident in our design and our plans moving forward, but we do have some changes to make.” Furthermore, we asked the most important detail when it came to building and designing these rockets for months: What color is the rocket going be? “We don’t know for the time being,” both Connor and Marla expressed, “but a decision will be made very soon!”
Rocket parts are ordered and slowly arriving each day. We are excited to see how our two 1:1 rockets and one transonic rocket performs at launch in April.
Lockheed-Martin Senior Trip
Lockheed-Martin is a company specializing in the aerospace industry, more specifically the defense of the nation. Lockheed-Martin mostly specializes in researching and developing missiles, high altitude military vehicles, or fighter jets. In February, 15 Seniors in STEM had the opportunity to visit Lockheed-Martin, and get the insiders tour of the facility.
Seniors went to the branch of Lockheed-Martin that is located at Grand Prairie, Texas and were fascinated by the fact that not only did they make military equipment like jets or naval systems but they also manufacture commercial technology as well like helicopters and satellites. Another interesting point is that Lockheed hires more than Aerospace Engineers such as Business Specialists, Software Engineering, Manufacturing, Veterans, Mechanical Engineers and more!
Lockheed-Martin is an important industry not only in producing commercial vehicles but also in helping to defend our country from possible threats, as well as other opportunities outside of rocket science. Lockheed-Martin offers a variety of opportunities if rockets isn’t your thing. Though students were able to see lots of cool technologies, lots of areas were under wraps to keep information from getting leaked to the wrong hands, so hopefully the company isn’t hiding anything paranormal!
The STEM Academy is unique in its method of teaching. The STEM Academy uses PBL (Problem Based Learning) as its main way of teaching. PBL allows students to get more involved in what they are learning in class and makes one really think about what there learning. Not only does the student get a better understanding of the material being taught in class, but students can also learn other sets of skills. STEM focuses on professional skills such as teamwork, problem solving, communication, innovation and critical thinking.
The current geometry project is the clinometer which was done to help students better understand trigonometry. A clinometer is a tool used to measure objects that are too big to be measured by hand. Each team was to create a clinometer that was durable, accurate, and easy to use. Teams were then given the task of measuring at least 3 objects over 20 feet tall with their clinometer. This was done to help students better understand trigonometry and visualize how it works in a real world situation. Students found it very helpful, one of the students. Gage Maldonado, stated “The clinometer really helped with the current subject in geometry by painting a picture of what is being calculated and putting math in perspective.” This shows just how effective problem based learning is, and how much it helps students.
Problem based learning is effective and is a great way of learning. This was one of many PBLs happening in STEM which help the students learn meaningfully. PBLs are much more than just projects, they are a way of learning real life skills. PBLs have had a great impact on the STEM Academy and will continue to change the way students will learn in the future.
Skilled. Credentialed. Ready.
Did you know that you can get professional certifications in your CTE classes? Over the last two years I have earned five certifications: Autodesk Revit, Microsoft Word, Excel Access and PowerPoint. Northwest ISD CTE wants students to have the competitive advantage in college and career by having professional certifications and we can get them for FREE! Some certifications can cost up to $150 - what a savings for students!
I think all students should take advantage of this opportunity to not only train in the software of future careers but be professionally certified. Being able to say that you are a certified Word user is more powerful than stating that you are “proficient in word processing.” The certification shows employers that you are already skilled and gives you an advantage over other applicants. What are you waiting for? Get certified so that you can be skilled, credentialed and ready!
Graduate Spotlight: Mia Zaro
One of the main goals of the STEM Academy is to prepare students for life after high school and career. Upon graduating STEM, a student will be equipped and ready to use skills that are required to excel at many careers. Professional skills such as communication, collaboration, critical thinking and presentation skills. Mia Zaro is the featured graduate in this edition of our Graduate Spotlight. Mia Zaro graduated from NHS STEM Academy in 2015. Mia is currently a student in her senior year at Texas Tech University studying at the College of Architecture. Mia joined STEM because she was very creative as a child, and saw STEM as an opportunity to strengthen those skills. Growing up she “had always been crafty and hands on and the thought of having project based learning and hands on experience is why I joined STEM.” Some common confusion when it comes to STEM is that it mainly consists of engineering courses, but this isn't at all the case.
Mia stated that her "favorite courses where Mrs. DeLong’s AutoCAD and REVIT classes, mainly because they were architecture based rather than engineering.” Mia's favorite project while in STEM was the Dream House Project. This entailed designing a home for an actual client, holding meetings and design checkpoints. “I enjoyed this project so much because it was in a real world setting in term of the process of design.” Architecture is a vital part of the STEM Academy.
Mia said, “The most valuable skill I learned from the STEM program was how to give a presentation, and the ability to orally communicate my ideas.” In addition to oral communication, she also stated that the team based learning used in STEM has helped her succeed in life after high school, “In college I give an average of 30 presentations a school year, whether that be a one on one presentation with my professors about my designs, or a final review which is in front of a panel of licensed architects and all of my peers.” Without STEM and all of the projects and presentations required, Mia felt like she had an advantage in her college courses. It’s no question that in today's world these skills are essential.
Since STEM is always adding new subjects and activities to its curriculum, Mia said “I think STEM should incorporate a field trip to tour or shadow Architecture or Engineering Firms, and other STEM field offices to expose STEM kids to all the options each field of study has to offer.” Luckily for our students, we have added a course called Practicum where senior students can experience internships within the STEM field. Mia is now moving on to big things in her future thanks to the STEM Academy!
Northwest High School’s STEM Civil Engineering and Architecture (CEA) teacher Mrs. DeLong is one of the many awesome teachers here in the STEM Academy. She loves building relationships with students because it creates a better working environment and helps students be more open. Caulter Etheredge, a junior, says this about Mrs. DeLong “I’ve been in her class all year and she’s been fun to learn from and helps me to understand something when there’s not a real basis of understanding for why this rule or equation is the way it is.”
Mrs. DeLong was chosen to be a teacher in STEM because of her distinguished efforts to help students when they are struggling and her background in architecture. When asked what her favorite part about teaching was she responded, “I like seeing students grow in something they enjoy and I also like sharing ideas with creative people.” Mrs. DeLong’s favorite part about teaching is “The relationships that I continue to have after kids graduate.” Mrs. DeLong is always caring and willing to help anyone.
Despite her busy profession, she still has time for activities she enjoys, such being a club volleyball coach, woodworking, and designing and building projects such as tables, benches, and entertainment centers. If Mrs. DeLong wasn’t a teacher, she would be want to get her Masters in Architecture and open her own firm - maybe even hire some former students!
Mrs. DeLong has been a STEM teacher for seven years and plans on staying for more years to come. The STEM students greatly appreciate all of her hard work and time that she puts into her subject. She is a great teacher and is happy that she can see students grow.
Collaboration Space Takes Shape
Winning a grant is a waiting game. You work really hard to get the grant completed, in this case with Revit renderings, designs, video and essays, then you wait.
Once you find out the results.... WE WON! You are excited! But now you wait again for all of the pieces to fall into place....
Finally, we can announce that our Collaboration Space is almost complete! I am really exited to use the furniture that I placed in my designs and can't wait to watch other students and classes utilize the space. We still have some finishing touches to do but the space that I envisioned is here... start using it NHS!
Celebration: STEM Banquet
The STEM Academy Council and STEM Booster Club are proud to host the STEM Banquet. We are excited to honor our STEM Seniors and all students at Robson Ranch on May 25, 2018.
Tickets can be purchased from now until May 1st for $25 by visiting http://tinyurl.com/stembooster -- after May 1st the price increases!
Don't miss this chance to celebrate 2017-18 with our STEM family!
Planning Ahead: What's Your Path
Marl Erica Gamboa
It is already time for us to begin thinking about next year and the path we want to take as students and graduates.
Mrs. Helmick and our counselors have been working closely with us on our schedules. STEM is adding several new opportunities next year that are set to help us gain skills and experiences.
We are adding several new PLTW engineering courses: Digital Electronics, Cybersecurity, Environ-mental Sustainability, and our senior course, Engineering Design & Development. Check out the website or flyer below to learn more.
Another new opportunity offered by many NISD CTE pathways is the Practicum course. Practicum is a double-block course that allows students to gain internship experience in a STEM field. The chance to work with professionals in engineering, science, math or technology is a great opportunity to gain onsite job experience, knowledge & skills and networking. If you have any questions, contact Mrs. Helmick.
High School Showcase
Every high school in the U.S. has elective classes and core classes but how schools choose to present those class options to their students is different school to school. Northwest High School chooses to present these their classes and show school spirit by hosting a high school showcase every year at the start of second semester in preparation for the new school year.
At High School Showcase people set up stands to present their clubs, classes, electives and various sports available for students to choose from. Courtney Stuhldreher attended the showcase this year and gave me her input on what she thought. The most memorable part of show case for Courtney was, “I really loved walking around and seeing all of the tables with the different classes, seeing all of the opportunities that people can see and all of the freshmen that were really excited to come to this school next year.”
Another part of showcase Courtney said she appreciated was the STEM section. She said, “I liked to see all of the possibilities that were offered by the STEM Academy. I think that the way that it was presented really excited the new incoming students and made them want to join the stem academy.” Students and teachers had set up tables to present what STEM has to offer, such as classes, opportunities, and a different learning style, and it was presented perfectly to excite young 8th graders to join the academy and pursue a career path in STEM.
High School Showcase is a great experience for the incoming freshmen and current students alike. It is a good experience for the families, as well, since they can see the school they will be attending and can see the various opportunities that the school has to offer so they can begin to think about the path they want to take in high school.
Women in STEM Event Huge Success
On February 28th, two female Aerospace Engineers from the renowned Aerospace and Defense company, Lockheed Martin, came to Northwest High School talked to every girl in the STEM Academy about what it is like to be a female in a predominantly male industry. We were excited to host Christy Roof, mother of a current STEM student, and Cassidi Mercereau, STEM Academy Alumnus, for our first annual Women in STEM event. The engineers provided the girls with inspirational ideas of STEM, discussed their college/career pathway and challenged students with an engineering activity.
Camille Shuey, a STEM junior that is very interested in biomedical engineering and helping disadvantaged people. She was instrumental to giving us perspective on being a girl in STEM.
Camille was very interested in the “Women in STEM” event, because this was the first event of its kind in Northwest’s history. Camille, “...became interested in STEM in 8th grade when I figured out that I wanted to become a biomedical engineer.” Camille later stated that she did not know what a biomedical engineer was when she was thinking about joining STEM, but she just knew that she wanted to make prosthetic limbs for people who needed them. Camille also talked about the origins of her interest in the STEM field, and how her dad was the one that convinced her to join the STEM academy. She explained “He was always interested in science and math, and he really wanted me to have the opportunity that he didn’t get to have when he was in high school.” Girls in STEM are important because it is such a masculine industry that not many girls want to enter. When asked why girls in the STEM industry are needed Camille intelligently replied, “Girls are important in STEM because they bring in a different way of thinking to the STEM field. Women and men think differently, and it is very important to mix both of those thinking processes to make an efficient product that you can sell to the public.” Having two different gender perspectives while working on a product is useful in any workplace, product appeal to both genders.
Engineers at this event were incredibly informative and inspiring. These speakers had the girls do some challenge activities like building a small parachute with two sheets of paper, floss, tape, and scissors. Also they gave some personal anecdotes about how they became aerospace engineers. Camille said that one of the best things about these speakers is that they “...they were talking to us like we were engineers, not specifically women engineers. They did not treat us any different because they were women in STEM or because we were girls in the STEM academy.” The speakers tried to connect with these girls by talking to them as if they were equals rather than acting as a figure of authority. Camille was also asked what was the one thing she could take away from this event, she stated “I learned that being a girl in STEM is a good thing and that your gender does not hinder you from going into a field that you want to go in to.” These speakers impacted the girls by showing them how being a female is not a disadvantage in the STEM field by any means.
For any future girls interested in STEM, Camille says “...disregard the fact that you’re a girl. It doesn’t matter what your gender is as long as you have the work ethic needed to succeed in this academy. Don’t ever think that your gender is an obstacle when going into the working world, because it’s actually an advantage that you should be proud of.” Marla Gamboa, another STEM Junior said “Don’t let what others say about your passions dissuade you from pursuing them. Always be prepared for everything, if not, take a deep breath and think things through.”
Women in STEM are in just as much demand as men and like Camille said earlier, women think differently than men and can bring new or even better ideas to the table. Having two different perspectives on a product can enable the product to be appealing to both genders or making the product even more innovative.
Expo Goes Global
NISD hosted it's annual Expo, formerly TechnoExpo, a yearly event held at Northwest High School used to showcase the best projects students from all over NISD have created throughout the year. This is event is a great opportunity for students to share their learning with the Northwest Community.
This event is one of the largest events for NISD students, teachers, parents, and community members. Our entire NHS campus was used to showcase different talents from presentations, culinary, music and projects.
Many of the projects this year were interesting and interactive; even better, everyone came prepared to share their passions. Each team was excited to show off their presentations and many even got awards or won prizes. STEM juniors Hulen Howard and Kayla Rasmussen each won an award for their Habitat for Humanity home design. Along with the award, they were presented with a job shadowing opportunity at Huckabee Architects!
A senior STEM student, Derek Maynard, presented about certifications and the importance of earning certifications to "gain the competitive advantage." For his hard work and earning 5 professional certifications, he was presented with a new computer from Dell. Derek is certified Autodesk Revit, Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint.
Dale York, STEM senior, was able to present in the new CTE collaboration space that he designed. With his designs, NHS CTE won a IMPACT grant to purchase furniture and TVs to create a space for student collaboration and presentation. Dale was awarded with an excellence award and an opportunity to shadow resident architect Tim McClure, NISD Assistant Superintendent for Facilities.
We had dozens of STEM students involved in the evening both presenting and leading booths, like the "Dream Differently" with CTE book booth and the Robotics room.
There was such a large crowd that “some of the teams were a bit nervous to present,” says Jacob Ruhl, junior STEM student, “but everyone did great, and all of their projects were very cool.” While some people can get nervous during their presentations, everyone remembers just to have a good time, and that the presentation is really just a conversation between you and the audience.
One of the favorites this year was one of the elementary projects, “They had us put on headphones, and the presentation took us to many different landmarks like Stonehenge and Mt. Everest. It was a very cool experience,” Jacob declares. Another big hit was the Texan Robotics Lego room where kids of all ages were able to build and program Lego robots or build a giant pirate ship! It was a really good year for projects and focused on the theme "Our Global World."
We love seeing our peers present and share their passions! Thank to NISD Technology team for giving us the opportunity.
UIL Spotlight: Nathan Kim
The University Interscholastic League (UIL) is responsible for the contests for academic, athletic and musical activities, and is the birthplace of our most talented young students throughout the state of Texas. One such student is a member of our very own Northwest Band. Nathan Kim plays the clarinet for the top band in our school, and according to him, it has become an important part of his everyday life. Nathan shines due do how dedicated he is towards being a great player, leader, and friend.
Nathan is has been playing the clarinet for around 6 years now. He practices for about 1-2 hours every day, and according to Dylan Cortright, a junior, “Nathan enjoys playing a lot and likes a challenge.” He has plans to continue to play throughout college, which shows just how much he enjoys doing what he does. Mr. Boulet, one of the directors of the band program, described how he is not always an outgoing person, but he plays at a high level. All of his passion and expression likely goes into his playing first and foremost.
He has other interest besides band, however, for instance, when asked what he would be doing if he wasn’t doing band, he said, “Probably be in art, I wanted to take art but band interfered with it.” Nathan clearly has an interest in the arts, which must play a large role in his musical ability. He enjoys talking with other players at his level and listening to them play, as well and helping out the ones that struggle. Although “He is sometimes hard to read as far as emotions,” Mr. Boulet explains, “He is what I call a sniper. Every once in a while, out of nowhere, he will say something pointed and hilarious.” By now it’s impossible to miss how Nathan’s unique personality shines through.
Nathan Kim is in fact a strong player, but another important trait of his, is that he is always focused on the task at hand, and a great guy to work with. Dylan shared how, “He is easy to talk to, likes similar music to me, and is a great musician. So he is definitely a team player.” He is extremely determined to his cause and always wants to expand his knowledge. Mr. Boulet highlighted the fact that, “He really impressed me this past fall as a section leader. I was not sure he was going to be aggressive with leading a section of others, but that group was one of the strongest during the fall … He is a great leader and role model to the other students in the program.” Being a fun and strong member of the team is a important part of his character.
All of this is more proof that Nathan stands out substantially in UIL as a whole. His commitment to his instrument, his drive to be a great role model, and his persistence to be a fun and enjoyable part of everyone's lives speaks volumes. Nathan is a great example of how you can stand out in anything you do if you are genuinely devoted to it.
Technology of the Future
Current technology has advanced beyond what used to be imaginable even up to a decade ago. The company SpaceX is a prime example of this with it's privatized rocket launches. One example of such achievements is the Falcon X heavy rocket that was released to the public’s viewing and to many people’s surprise it was on par with NASA’s “MEGA Rocket” which is NASA’s most capable rocket when it comes to engine strength, fuel capacity, and estimated distance able to be traveled currently publicized. When SpaceX announced their launch date of the Falcon X, many people tuned into this new spectacle on the internet. As the rocket launched it creating a sight to see it was launched at dusk on Friday, 22nd December at 5:27 pm, the sky had just turned dark, after reaching a certain height so but then the sun touched it making a shape that amazed many people.
The launching of a private company into space is unheard of and seen as a stepping stone to the future potentially leading to competition worldwide. The launch not only affects aerospace fields but also could require new jobs with new skills and ideas. Jonathan Berkey. a virtual reality designer who grew up admiring space and anything sci-fi said “Any new technology such as this pushes industry forward and creates space for innovation and discover which will benefit future products and technology.” and following it up with “Future innovations could impact my life by the creation of hardware and software that interact within work or life.”exclaimed Jonathan Berkey although it’s unlikely space travel will be affordable within this generation’s lifetime, the old wish of flying through the stars may not be as far away as we once thought. good!
To add onto the surplus of benefits we get from new jobs and ideas, I noticed a similarity in students and adults alike that there was an increased amount of expectation coming from the general public, “I actually would have thought we would have hit this milestone earlier than we have,” vocalized Camille Shuey a Junior in STEM, Although harsh, it’s easy to agree with the statement. Due to the imagination usually being 10 steps ahead of our own capabilities, we usually cannot pursue our own goals as human beings, but recently our technology has put us in a point where if we can imagine it, there has to be a way to do it. This new idea has sparked from recent technological advancements in the STEM fields that have happened at unprecedented rates and continue to grow.
As a human race we stray further and further distanced from our own old ways of thinking, as well as the realm of old logic, and we delve deeper into other worlds, physical and technological in the like. With the sudden requirement for intelligence, we create A.I. and with the newfound knowledge we create more groundbreaking discoveries finishing the cycle by taking another step for mankind and repeating over and over. All in all the launch of the Falcon X heavy rocket is not a standalone innovation, but instead a leader to the next generations development in future currently unknown capabilities.
Senior Parents: Don't forget to order a Senior sign and Graduation Stole for your student!